Watts Receives Distinguished Award for University Support

Note to Editors: A biography is attached below the release, and a photo is available upon request

Lowell Watts, a 1941 graduate of Colorado State University, will be recognized as the 2004 recipient of the Charles A. Lory Public Service Award given by Colorado State University’s Alumni Association at the Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner May 7.

Watts was the longest serving Colorado State University Cooperative Extension director, holding that position for more than 23 years.

"He has succeeded in broadening the scope of Cooperative Extension to impact all segments of all communities in Colorado and improving the quality of life throughout the state," said Howard Smith, retired manager of Kodak Colorado.

Watts was instrumental in chartering the National 4-H Council and a member of the board of the National 4-H Service Committee prior to its merger with the 4-H council.

While attending Colorado State, Watts was one of Colorado’s first four 4-H delegates to national 4-H camp in Washington, D.C., in 1937, a member of the junior and senior livestock judging teams, was assistant editor of the Rocky Mountain Collegian and was in multiple honor societies such as Alpha Zeta, Alpha Tau Alpha, Pi Kappa Delta, Sigma Xi, Pi Delta Epsilon, Gamma Sigma Delta and Epsilon Sigma Phi.

From 1954 through 1957, Watts was information director for Colorado A&M University. In 1957, he became secretary of the State Board of Agriculture, and in 1959 he became Cooperative Extension’s director of agricultural programs at the university. From 1968 through 1983, Watts served as director of Colorado State Cooperative Extension and Community Service, and in 1983 he became the International Extension and Training director at Colorado State.

Watts’ service to Colorado State includes working directly with university President William Morgan to form legislation to change Colorado A&M University to Colorado State University and in a proposal to bring the National Animal Disease Laboratory to Colorado State. He rewrote and secured the passage of Senate Bill 77, which broadened and verified the statutory role of Colorado State Cooperative Extension. He also started the Weekend Gardener show on Denver television.

Gov. Richard Lamm appointed Watts as the Colorado Rural Development Commission executive secretary in 1973. He has served as chairman of the national Cooperative Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, and as the chair of the legislative committee which successfully prevented the placement of Cooperative Extension’s federal budget into state revenue sharing

Watts also served as National Western Stock Show director for several years.

Watts’ international accomplishments include serving as initial campus coordinator for a large project in eastern Nigeria, the Colorado State representative on joint project with Kansas State University and the University of Wisconsin on rural development in Nigeria and a member of the executive team to study research teaching and Cooperative Extension throughout Nigeria in 1966 through 1967. He was elected to the board of directors of Heifer Project International, a non-profit organization that works to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth, in 1982 through 1984, and served as a U.S. Department of Agriculture delegate to Spain on research and extension.

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Charles A. Lory Public Service Award

Lowell H. Watts

B.S. Animal Husbandry, Colorado State University, 1941

M.S. Public Administration, University of Colorado, 1962

After graduating in 1941, Lowell Watts flew combat as a B-17 pilot.  He was held prisoner for 438 days.  Lowell was KLZ’s Farm Reporter in Denver until 1954 when he became Director of Information for our university and later Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture followed by Director of Extension.  Changes he initiated were the appointment of females to the position of County Extension Director, equalizing male/female salaries and assignment of Extension specialists to academic departments.

Lowell worked directly with President Bill Morgan on legislation to change our name to Colorado State University and in the proposal to bring the National Animal Disease Laboratory to CSU.  He was a charter member to the National 4-H Council, board member of the Agricultural Council of America, and member of the National Presbyterian Hunger Committee.  

On the international scene, Lowell was Extension’s representative on Land Grant/USDA/State Department agricultural development committees.  He was a member of the Board of Directors and Acting Director for Heifer International, a non-profit organization in which he is still active that works to end hunger and poverty

Lowell H. Watts is a real life example of the philosophic goals embodied in the Land Grant Institution.  He has served internationally, nationally and locally with unparalleled distinction that has reflected great credit and shed a very positive light on Colorado State University.